Stateline Story

Immigration: Will Other States Join Arizona?

The national and international debate over Arizona's new immigration law continued Monday (April 26), as critics of the legislation called for an economic boycott of the state and the Mexican president, Felipe Calderon, warned that it " opens the door to intolerance and hatred ." Less-noticed, however, was a state lawmaker in neighboring Utah who is drafting a similar bill in his state, and who says he has the support he needs to make it law.

"Utah is seen as state that welcomes illegal immigrants. We almost encourage it with driving privilege cards and in-state tuition for illegals," Representative Stephen Sandstrom told The Salt Lake Tribune . "With Arizona making the first step in this direction, Utah needs to pass a similar law or we will see a huge influx of illegals. The real issue is just establishing a rule of law in our state."

Like Arizona's measure, the bill proposed by Sandstrom would require law enforcers to question anyone they believe is in the United States without documentation, and it would require legal immigrants to carry proof of status. Sandstrom believes his legislation is necessary "as a preventive measure against the swell of undocumented immigrants he predicts would come to Utah from Arizona once the law there takes effect," The Tribune reported.

Utah isn't the only state where politicians already are talking about following Arizona's lead. In Iowa, for instance, one of three Republican candidates for governor visited the editorial board of The Des Moines Register on Monday and expressed his unequivocal support for the Arizona measure.

"You bet I would (push for a similar law)," Bob Vander Plaats told the Register . "It's negligent on our part as a government just to buy this, to say, 'You know what? They're here and we'll welcome them here.' No. It's illegal."

Both Iowa and Utah are finished with their regular legislative sessions for the year, so it is possible that any action on immigration may have to wait until next year.